Greater Portland Inc. (GPI)

Greater Portland Inc (GPI) is a public/private partnership driving quality economic expansion and job creation in the Portland-Vancouver region. GPI’s work unites forward-thinking leaders in shaping the economic future of the region by positioning it as a global center for high-quality growth. GPI’s resources are focused on retention, expansion and targeted recruitment of businesses from the region’s four target clusters: athletic and outdoor apparel, high-tech/software, advanced manufacturing and clean-technology. Through this work, GPI serves as the region’s convener, coordinating shared economic development priorities and building a focused and aligned business development and marketing strategy to drive job creation and economic prosperity.

GPI was launched through a merger of one public (Regional Partners) and one private economic development organization (Greenlight Greater Portland) so the Portland/Vancouver region could provide end-to-end economic development assistance in recruiting, retaining and growing business in the area.

As initial conversations around a possible merger began, Harrelson Group was brought onboard to help organizational leaders from both organizations maneuver the complexity of the options. This work involved pulling together the mayors of local jurisdictions, commissioners of major counties and about 15 company CEOs.
Harrelson Group filled many roles during the planning prior to the merger, and the transition and launch of GPI following the merger, including:

  • Designing the process to create a safe environment for the merger conversations
  • Guiding the process to capture input from all stakeholders into the new business model
  • Facilitating the launch team comprising mayors, commissioners and CEOs
  • Supporting the day-to-day leadership during the transition and CEO search as the organizations merged finances
  • Providing the structure to create a new board and supported bylaws updates
  • With the new CEO, helping to develop the strategic work plan and metrics for the new organization

In the first year of the organization several key milestones were accomplished including:

  • Completed a unified and focused Regional Economic Development Strategy, which is the region’s playbook for coordinated economic development
  • Launched a West Coast business development initiative targeting site selectors and companies considering expansion opportunities in order to continue to build a pipeline and add jobs to our region
  • Served as the regional convener to secure a $2.2 million inter-agency federal grant to further integrate two of the region’s prominent industry clusters—clean technology innovation and manufacturing
  • Launched the Greater Portland Export Initiative, aiming to double exports in five years
  • Successfully recruited Catalyst Rx, which will bring 300 jobs to the region